Updated: 02/02/2013 03:21

MOH to review Medisave to cover more medical conditions

MOH to review Medisave to cover more medical conditions

The Health Ministry says it will review its 3M model - which includes medishield, medisave and medifund - to make it more effective and relevant to the needs of Singaporeans. 

It's looking to liberalise Medisave so that it can be used for more medical conditions while encouraging Singaporeans to save. 

Speaking at the Our Singapore Conversation on Healthcare, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said more details will be shared at this year's Committee Of Supply debate. 

This exchange is part of the ongoing Singapore Conversation which aims to encourage a ground-up participation from various stakeholders so that the government can benefit from a regular rethink of where it stands.

Affordable yet quality healthcare providing a better understanding of the various healthcare schemes and better support for the elderly. 

These were some of the concerns raised at the Our Singapore Conversation for healthcare attended by various healthcare professionals. 

One of the issues discussed at the dialogue session was on how to improve the care delivered to the elderly. 

Participants said that caregiver training has to be beefed up and also our living environment has to be made more elderly friendly in order to cater to the demands of our rising ageing population. 

Minister Gan also said more should be done to ease the healthcare costs for the elderly. 

"I think we have done quite a lot in the tertiary sector in the inpatient care but in the outpatient, some of the medicine especially for chronic diseases - it can be costly so they are concerned and hope that we can do more to help them. They are also looking at how we can give them better coverage in terms of insurance because then there's a greater sense of assurance that the cost will be covered to some extent."

"They also understand there's a need to continue to have some form of co-payment and deductible so there's some form of individual responsibility even as we increase the insurance and of course they also appreciate the trade offs, the balance. Because as you increase the coverage, there's also a need for more premiums and contributions to the insurance but of course they hope the government can contribute and help in this respect."

Geriatrician at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Dr. Ian Leong also called for one point of contact for patients and caregivers to approach about their healthcare needs. 

This will allow them to be taken care of in a more holistic manner. 

"At this point in time, there are really many services and they are all in some ways fairly similar but there are important differences - and they can only handle a particular kind of healthcare need. Because of that, it becomes very confusing for a particular person who to approach and whether that service fits their needs entirely."

Others also called for more flexibility within healthcare institutions to make it easier for patients to obtain subsidies.

-By Vimita Mohandas

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